Very Rare C. Bechtler Quarter Eagle, MS62
(1837-42) $2 1/2 C. Bechtler Quarter Eagle, 64G. 22C. MS62 NGC.
K-11, R.6. All coins are products of their circumstances, and
private coinages such as the Bechtler gold pieces of the
southeastern United States show many of their influences in raw,
unpolished ways. While the Bechtler coinage is silent on the more
sordid side of the Piedmont gold rush -- the infamous "Trail of
Tears," in its narrowest sense, refers specifically to U.S. forces'
removal of Cherokee from gold-containing lands and the subsequent
thousand-mile forced march to present-day Oklahoma -- coins such as
this quarter eagle speak to later developments in the area's
nascent gold economy.
K-11, 64 Grains, Uneven '22'
While Georgia-based Templeton Reid was the first notable private gold coiner of the Piedmont Gold Rush, the Bechtler family were metallurgical pioneers in North Carolina. As described in Donald Kagin's Private Gold Coins and Patterns of the United States, Christopher Bechtler, Sr. was born in Phorzheim, Baden, in 1782. (Kagin refers to Baden, in present-day Germany, as a "Grand Duchy." While this was true at the time of the Bechtler family's immigration to the United States in 1829, at the time of Bechtler Sr.'s birth, Baden was a margraviate within the decaying Holy Roman Empire.) Bechtler Sr., an expert metallurgist, brought along his sons Charles and Augustus, as well as a nephew also named Christopher. Though they initially settled in the north -- the family arrived in New York City and applied for citizenship and set up shop in Philadelphia -- within a year of arrival, they bought land in Rutherford County in North Carolina and moved down there, where they began a coinage dynasty.
This 64-grain C. Bechtler quarter eagle is undated but was struck either just before or contemporaneously to the Charlotte Mint's earliest years of operation. Its orange-gold surfaces are lightly abraded but unworn and considerably reflective, especially on the denomination side. The uneven placement of the paired "2" symbols (for 22 carats) underscores what must have been rough coinage conditions, though slightly rarer "Even 22" coins were struck at the same weight limit. Listed on page 373 of the 2013 Guide Book. (NGC ID# 2B9G, PCGS# 10073)
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